Ukraine’s complex transition
Edited By Klaus Bachmann and Igor Lyubashenko
Oligarchy, Tyranny and Revolutions in Ukraine 1991–2014
It was an oligarchy that ruled ancient Greece; merchant families, being the oligarchy of the day, determined the destinies of the Republic of Venice and an oligarchy of magnates determined the destinies of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Even though it was not invented on the banks of the Dnieper River, oligarchic rule has become the most characteristic feature of present-day Ukraine’s political system. As long as there have been politics, oligarchy came in different shapes, although the shapes have always been similar. Conducting a formal analysis of the political or party system at different stages of their development and interpretation of the election results are not enough to understand the political processes in Ukraine after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Such an approach would not only be “superficial”, but also confusing. Only the superimposition of an interpretation grid and data related to the development of the oligarchic system (i.e. information relating to individual financial relations of politicians and co-dependencies between the business world and the world of politics) onto the data can allow a better understanding of the trends of development of Ukraine. The same applies to the relations between the development of the oligarchic system and revolutions that have become milestones of modern Ukrainian history. What I mean is the Orange Revolution in 2004/2005 and Euromaidan in 2013/2014, but also, although to a lesser extent, the student protests in 1990 (“Revolution on Granite”).1 The first two were closely connected to the formation and development of the...
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